By SUSAN CONDON LOVE
I have many wonderful and warm memories of my marriage nearly 29 years ago to the love of my life. Among the most vivid lingering impressions of that day? I was hot. Literally. I got married in Savannah, Georgia – the Deep South – in August in a voluminous, heavily beaded and sequined gown.
Was I nuts to plan a wedding in the hottest month in one of the hottest and muggiest states in the nation? Well, we both lived in Savannah at the time, so the location was a given. But the date was chosen by my beloved because October (my dream month) was “in the middle of college football season” and thus out of consideration for my sports-writing soon-to-be spouse.
When I chose my gown, I did not worry about the heat potential of the tight bodice, enveloping billowing skirt and bow-decorated sleeves. I reasoned, with some justification, that I would be in air-conditioning the majority of the time. I was, indeed, in air-conditioning. But I was still really, really hot.
Summer and early fall brides today have many more options than I did back in 1989 – and maybe a little more common sense. They have fashionable choices for their gowns that will be stylish – and cool.
Summer brides should “opt for a sheath or tea-length gown to stay cool,” recommended Lori Conley, divisional merchandise manager/bridal and flower girl, for David’s Bridal stores. “(They) should stick to lightweight layers such as chiffon, tulle and Chantilly laces to look effortless and feel comfortable when battling warmer temperatures.”
Other options, according to Ms. Conley, include selecting dresses that have open backs (very popular now) and strapless gowns. “The less you’re covered up, the cooler you’ll feel.”
“I’m not really sure there is a ‘best’ style bridal gown for summer,” said Carly Wilber, co-owner of The Perfect Bride in Rocky River. “Really, girls should pick the dress they feel the best in, regardless of what might be cooler.”
That said, according to Ms. Wilber, “Chiffon fabric is great for outdoor summer weddings – it’s lightweight, offers great movement in the breeze and is beautiful. Really soft tulle also does well in summer. We also like really soft laces. But again, it’s not like the men who wear suits or tuxes with all the layers and the heavy fabric, so wear what you love. It is, after all, all about the bride!”
Those brides planning outdoor summer weddings should have a back-up plan in case of rain, she advised, but “don’t worry about the hem on your dress. It will get dirty. It can be cleaned and regardless of anything, have a great time!”
Julie Possage of Matina’s Bridal at Eton Chagrin Boulevard, believes that the biggest concern for summer brides should be the fabric of the gown, rather than the style. “Of course, I recommend staying away from long sleeves, and the bride might want to avoid a huge, full skirt, but it’s truly more important to consider a breathable fabric for summer wedding gowns.”
As far as fabrics go, “always avoid satin for summer weddings,” said Ms. Possage. “Satin gowns tend to hold in the heat and can make for an uncomfortable bride.” Other fabric choices, she added, are up to the bride and what she loves the most.
“My suggestion (for outdoor summer weddings) is to consider what your entire wedding day will consist of before falling in love with a gown,” Ms. Possage added. “Then make the wedding gown the choice that best suits the bride you want to be.”
“I feel that the bride must be true to herself and pick the gown that best suits her personality.”
With those words in mind, I am flashing back to my own August wedding gown, remembering how I fell in love with the sequined bodice, ball-gown skirt, and tiny bustle.
It was just perfect, heat or no heat.